As you may know, the London Chamber has embarked on an aggressive campaign to open up new export markets for our members and in turn, attract more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into London. Our first foray in this new direction was the advent of ABOC (Asian Business Opportunities Committee) where, in 2011/12 your Chamber successfully completed a number of Friendly Agreements of Co-operation with our Chamber counterparts in Chengdu, Chongqing, and Nanjing China.
More recently, Brazil has been added as a strategic market for us to concentrate on and under the auspices of the Chamber’s BBOC (Brazil Business Opportunities Committee) we have made significant strides in building this relationship. Brazil as you may know has some $12 billion dollars of private sector investment located within an hour’s drive of London.
On July 23rd, a delegation from the London Chamber went to Toronto to strengthen that relationship even further. Delegates, including the Chamber’s President of the Board, Andrea Feddema, BBOC Chair and Co-Chair Paulo Silva, and Felipe Gomes respectively as well as yours truly, had a very successful day.
We first had an opportunity to meet with the newly minted Consul General of Brazil, Jose Vicente De Sa Pimemtel. The Consul General met with us in the morning and was most gracious in offering his advice and counsel on how best to build on our growing relationship and where in his view we had the best opportunities for success. He is extremely optimistic that there are huge educational opportunities between our two countries and has promised to follow up with us on that note. He has also requested that we develop a matrix of best projects and best opportunities that his office will be able to review for further action. President Andrea Feddema had an opportunity to do a little London bragging and presented the Consul with the Chamber’s “Our London” book as a token of appreciation.
Later that afternoon, the delegation had an appointment with the Brazil Canada Chamber of Commerce (BCCC) where we had pre-arranged for the formal signing of our first “Friendly Agreement of Cooperation” with our Brazilian counterparts. To our knowledge this is the first agreement of its kind between their organization and any community based Chamber of Commerce in Canada.
The agreement was signed by the President of the BCCC, Raul Papaleo and myself and was witnessed by delegates Feddema, Silva, and Gomes. In essence the agreement calls for three basic commitments:
1. The Parties recognize that they should capitalize on existing economic opportunities for their members and encourage the development and promotion of economic cooperation and communication between the business community in Brazil and London, Canada.
2. The Parties will work towards establishing a framework to identify and facilitate economic cooperation and promote business opportunities in each jurisdiction.
3. And, the Parties will encourage cooperation and communication exchange between the Brazilian business community and the London, Canada, business community as well as with each parties’ respective counterparts in their post-secondary educational institutions.
This is a great start and our BBOC group deserves full marks for their work and dedication in making this happen. As the world gets smaller and competition tighter, initiatives like these will help to guarantee a healthy and vibrant global marketplace for our members to do business in.